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The process of screenplay writing is as enjoyable as it is daunting. A screenplay or popularly called a script is the written documentation of the plan how the film or a TV show is to run. Fundamentally, there are two types of screenplays:
Spec or speculative writing is done by writers who do not receive any promise of upfront payment. Commissioned screenplay writing is carried out by hired writer or a team of writers working in collaboration to give a pre-designed concept a shape. Composing scripts necessitates that certain format and style should be followed. While the studio format consists of the font, page numbering, indents, spacing etc. the style includes the language, tone and grammar to be used for both what is audible and visible on the screen. Hollywood purchases genres. Agents and film makers are willing to buy an idea if they think it can be developed into a great movie. Take to polishing your writing style in a particular genre that you feel passionate about and within which you have some previous knowledge.
Today computers have taken most of the burden off the shoulders of the writers. There is no need to spend hours, trying to master the professional Hollywood writing style. We have a plethora of software available to suit the need and style of every writer. Such software is a boon to writers since they allow them to concentrate on other aspects of screenplay writing for which human intervention is a must, like the areas where creativity of human brain is indispensable. A screenplay, unlike a novel, delves on descriptive features of the scenes, characters and their dialogues rather than the internal thoughts of the actors involved. The thoughts are depicted through symbolism and actions.
Most screenplays are written in accordance with the age-old three act structure:
1. Setup (characters and location)
2. Confrontation (the obstacle)
3. Resolution (culmination or the climax)
In a typical script which runs over two hours, the first and third act should last for half an hour each and the second act must last for an hour. The authority in screenplay writing, Syd Field has divided the second act into two distinct parts and called his theory the Paradigm. He has also advocated for the addition of plot points or turning points that help the script to flow and which occur at specific points within the script. Script writing etiquette and form come more through experience than text books. Read as many screenplays as you can and you will begin to discern how they should be constructed. Making of a movie or a teleplay involves many personnel - the crew, cast, director, producer and of course, you the writer. Whatever you want to convey to the audience has to be shown to them and not told. Learning to write visually is important.
Many universities have taken up imparting knowledge of screenplay writing under a full degree program in the stream of Fine Arts. It is also possible to undergo programs of shorter duration. On-line courses are also available as well as ghostwriters for hire.
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